Recently, the newly-appointed CEO of the Premier League, Richard Masters, teased that we could be seeing a online, Netflix-style streaming platform for English Premier League matches at some point in the future. However, exclusive rights holders to Premier League in Malaysia, Astro has shared a report by CGSCIMB that says that the EPL will not “forsake” its relationship with Astro.
“Ultimately, content is king, and we believe the biggest media companies want to work with Astro.”
Instead, the study remarks that the idea may not work in the “piracy hotbed” that is Malaysia. Streaming isn’t a proven concept in the developing countries in Asia, with Malaysia’s penetration rate only standing at 2% in 2019, according to them. Still, there are 24 subscription-based on-demand services available—although the “real competition” in Malaysia comes from pirated streaming sites and YouTube.
The Premier League reportedly does not have enough expertise to operate a direct-to-consumer business just yet—although part of the appeal, for the Premier League, is to take the huge profits that broadcasters make with the exclusive rights of the Premier League.
“We believe that it would take years to understand the nuances of a specific market—more so for one that is as complex as multicultural Malaysia.”
Based on their own dominance in the Malaysian market, the report suggests that Astro is the ideal partner for the Premier League in the Malaysian market. That makes sense, with the EPL CEO earlier saying that a two-tiered system, with certain regions still having traditional broadcast rights models.
“We see a slim likelihood of the Premier League looking to sever its relationship with Astro.”
At the end of the day, the report says that the Premier League will still work with Astro in the Malaysian market, warning that a move to move away from the partnership could “backfire” on them.
Regardless, it’s worth noting that Masters only said that the concept was a possibility in the future, and even if it happens, it isn’t likely to be anytime soon. The Premier League currently does not have its own on-demand service, but with billions of pounds being spent on exclusive rights every year, you could argue that “Premflix” could be a risky idea to realise.
That is, if it isn’t implemented properly. An on-demand streaming service for Premier League matches? I think the answer from most football fans in Malaysia would be: yes, please.
Editor’s note: This article has been amended for clarity.